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This November, Vote for a Balanced Budget

Our fiscal crisis should be among the top issues for voters in 2024.

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If we balance the Federal budget today, and keep it balanced, it will take 100 years to pay off the National Debt.

Each child born in the United States gets an ID bracelet and a pro-rata share of the National Debt, currently over $100,000 and growing. This is a terrible injustice inflicted on future generations due to the relentless expansion of the Federal government under Progressive policies of the past 150 years. Our perennial deficits have vaulted the national debt over $34 trillion and are increasing at a rate of $1.5 trillion per year.

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These deficits and the debt they accrue are imprudent, dispiriting, unsustainable, and a national security risk, yet Congress lacks the resolve to do anything.

For years, commentators have been warning of the dangers of the deficit and the national debt. The hucksters hankering for a total economic collapse hoping to sell gold or Bitcoin have lately been joined by more respectable voices: Jamie Dimon, Brian Moynihan, and Jerome Powell.

It’s beyond time to take measures in line with the Constitution to balance the federal budget. Simple calculations conclude that balancing the budget without an increase in taxes will require a reduction in federal outlays (other than interest) of less than 20 percent. Only when the deficit is eliminated will it be possible to begin the burdensome chore of paying down the national debt.

My own preference is for a simple executive order requiring a 20 percent cut across every agency. Let the agency heads figure out how to accomplish that. Not spending every penny allocated and appropriated by Congress is entirely within the executive powers outlined in the Constitution. 

Assuming that will not happen, the only alternative is for Congress to act. Unfortunately, our elected representatives have repeatedly demonstrated that, though they have the power of the purse, they simply can’t muster the willpower to make such a courageous move. Even now, when the Republicans have the House, they are floundering in their effort to achieve a mere 2 percent reduction in outlays.

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The deficit’s root cause is We the People. American voters are either too selfish reaping personal rewards to care about their grandchildren or fail to do due diligence on the character of candidates promising fiscal responsibility.

Every candidate running for the House of Representatives in 2024, Democrat or Republican, should present to his or her constituency a detailed plan to use the appropriations process to reduce federal outlays (other than interest) by 5 percent for each of the next four years. The proposed plans would smoke out who sincerely intends to protect the interests of the local people. Will the cuts be in Defense? The Department of Education? Bailouts of deadbeat states? Let the deliberations begin, and may they be spirited and boisterous!

The restructuring of the economy over these four years would unleash optimism, innovation, and heightened economic activity and, possibly, a corresponding increase in government revenues without raising taxes. In a recent report, the Competitive Enterprise Institute states that “U.S. households pay $14,514 annually on average in a hidden regulatory tax. This amount exceeds every item in the household budget except housing.” Almost $2 trillion of economic activity could be unleashed simply by eliminating disadvantageous regulations! 

A balanced budget would be a true benefit for families: more wealth would be created by making stuff than by financial speculation and that new wealth would go to families rather than elites. With more confidence in the future, more families will be formed, and couples will be more inclined to have children.

To the argument that this will put holes in the safety net, I turn to Dorothy Day, whom no one ever accused of being calloused. As the New Deal was being rolled out, she observed that if the government takes care of people, people will stop taking care of people. The wisdom of her prediction is manifest throughout America. It’s time for families to step up and be family once again, taking care of family and community members without expecting much help from the federal government. 

A balanced budget and its advantages for families depend on each American voter taking a more active role in the 2024 primaries and general elections, carefully selecting those they send to Washington to represent their interests, and holding them responsible.

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